No Stranger to Heroism
Thomas Sabella, a firefighter with Ladder Company 13, was no stranger to heroism. In 1998, he ran up six flights of stairs in a burning Upper East Side tenement and rescued a man who was leaning out of a fifth-floor window. The city honored him for his bravery the following year.
His wife, Diana, who met her husband at Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island when she was just 16, accepted his choice of a high-risk occupation. "I never really worried," she said. "I always knew that he knew what he was doing, and that he would do his best."
Mr. Sabella, 44, had many hobbies. He went skiing and snowboarding with his daughter Nicole, 10. He grew tomatoes and cucumbers in his Staten Island garden, and he made his own red wine, giving away bottles as holiday gifts.
Their son James, 6, used to have an ambition shared by many little boys. These days, his mother said, "he says, 'I was going to be a fireman, but I don't know, now.' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 21, 2001.